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What Do You Call a Shipping Container? Sea Cans, C Cans, or Storage Bins?

Post updated on April 12, 2022

Isn’t it interesting that a shipping container, which may seem like a pretty simple product, is known by so many different names? A few that we hear from customers all the time are:

  • “C-cans”
  • “Sea Cans”
  • “Storage Bins”

Many of these terms are more slang-type terms that are just faster and easier to say than “shipping containers”, and while we usually know what people are talking about when they use those terms, you’ll rarely hear the BigSteelBox team refer to them that way. Here’s why…

“C-Cans” or “Sea Cans”:

Because shipping containers are manufactured to withstand transport across open oceans, and the rigorous handling in ports and on ships, it makes sense that they’ve adopted the name ‘sea can’ or ‘c can’ for short.

But, unlike typical aluminum ‘cans’, BigSteelBox containers are made entirely of 8-gauge steel, which makes them extremely strong and secure. A 20′ BigSteelBox can hold up to 10,000 lbs of contents, as opposed to 16′ pods-style containers, which have steel frames and aluminum sides, and can only hold about 4,800 lbs or less.

A BigSteelBox is a certified shipping container that is used for transport by ocean, rail, or road. They can be pulled, dragged or craned into place, and their structural integrity is never compromised.

Plus, our all steel storage containers can stand up to Canadian weather because they won’t bend or shift due to the weight of contents inside (shifting can allow water or rodents to get inside), and they can withstand the weight of snow in the winter.

“Storage Bins”

The term storage bin term is commonly used when referring to a shipping container, however, we rarely use it because to us the term ‘bin’ also refers to both plastic bins (typically used for home storage of small items or packing), or larger open roof bins often used for junk removal. Again, this is just an easier way to say ‘shipping container’ or ‘storage container’, but rest assured, none of our BigSteelBoxes are made of plastic or come without a roof!

New and Used Shipping Containers

We rent and sell new shipping containers for moving and storage needs. All of our new BigSteelBoxes are manufactured in China, and are used once for shipping goods when they come to Canada. A new BigSteelBox will be pained white and be free of rust or major dents. We refer to new containers as “one-trip containers”. When they arrive at our port near Vancouver, they are allocated to our network of stores across Canada on trucks.

We also sell used shipping containers. Used containers have typically been in use for a number of years and may have some dents or rust, and they can come in different colours. Many used containers are still certified for ocean travel, but have been sold from ports for other uses.

Many customers who have a need for permanent storage and are not overly concerned with the look or condition of the container, will opt to buy used.

Beware of Shipping Container Sales Scams

Something that people should always be aware of are shipping container sales scams. We’ve learned that a number of Canadians have fallen victim to fake companies claiming to be selling shipping containers over the past couple of years, and most recently, scammers have even been using BigSteelBox location addresses in Facebook ads to help make their post look legitimate.

These scammers are offering container sale prices that are much lower than what you’d see from legitimate container companies, and even posing as partners of those companies. There are many clues that can help you spot a fake container sale ad. Check out this post to learn more: How to Spot a Shipping Sales Scam

Weather and Rodent-Proof Storage Containers

Many shipping containers will only have rubber gaskets along the inside of the door, which can allow moisture inside if there are any rips or tears in the rubber. New BigSteelBoxes have rubber gaskets along both sides of the doors, which creates a tight seal. This keeps the contents safe from weather and rodents.

Learn more about the security features of a BigSteelBox.

Infographic: BigSteelBox Shipping Container Features

We’re here to make moving and storage feel better for you! If you’re looking to rent or buy a shipping container, we’d love to help you. Call us at 1-800-373-1187 for your free quote or request a quote online now.

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